Failing is good, Olympic golden girl Lizzy Yarnold tells Burgess Hill Girls

Failing is good, Olympic golden girl Lizzy Yarnold tells Burgess Hill Girls

13 July 2018

Winning consecutive Olympic gold medals in 2014 and 2018, Lizzy is the most successful British Winter Olympian and the most successful Olympic Skeleton athlete of all time from any nation.

She stayed for the whole day at Burgess Hill Girls, chatting with girls, answering their questions and cheering them on.

She also gave a wonderfully emotive motivational speech about the challenges she faced in her bid to be an Olympian, which reduced several girls and staff to tears.

Lizzy revealed that at the age of 18, she realised she wasn’t going to make it as a javelin thrower and began to explore other events to realise her dream of becoming an Olympian.

Through UK Sport’s Girls4Gold talent identification programme, she was identified as having potential in skeleton, in which a single rider on a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled, hurtles down a frozen track while lying face down and head-first.

Lizzy told the audience that failing is good. Her own motto? ‘Succeed and celebrate; fail and you learn.”  As she pointed out, you don’t win much in life, “so it is very important to deal with losing and to see it as a positive’. 

For one girl in particular, Lizzy’s visit was particularly inspirational. As a teenage heptathlete and javelin thrower, Lizzy’s sporting hero was Britain’s Goldie Sayers. Sayers is also the idol of Burgess Hill Girls Year 10 pupil Peanut Meekings, aged 15, who throws javelin for Sussex.

Burgess Hill Girls Junior School Head Heather Cavanagh said Lizzy’s visit was a ‘huge thrill’: ‘She’s so down to earth and modest and has overcome so many setbacks in her quest to become an Olympian. Determination and resilience are such important life skills for young people. She’s a fantastic role model for girls who want to succeed in life, in sport or any other field.’ 

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